October 2010 Article: An Aquifer Classification System and Geographical Information System-Based Analysis Tool for Watershed Managers in the Western U.S., by Scott M. Payne and William W. Woessner.
I wish I had a dollar for every classification system ever proposed. This one, however, got my attention because it seems widely applicable, repeatable, and reduces sometimes cumbersome complex databases and analyzes to straightforward terminology and graphical representations. Moreover, it’s based on a watershed scale.
The proposed classification system uses basin geology, aquifer productivity, water quality, and the degree of groundwater/surface water connection as classification criteria. The approach is based on literature values, reference databases, and fundamental hydrologic and hydrogeologic principles. The proposed classification system treats dataset completeness as a variable and includes a tiered assessment protocol that depends on the quality and quantity of data. The hierarchical approach is designed to improve communication between groundwater professionals and natural resource managers, similar to the classification system for natural rivers developed by Rosgen.
Classification systems always seem to involve different opinions over how things should be lumped, split, summarized, inspected, detected, neglected, and selected, and this one is no exception. The paper went through three full rounds of reviews before reaching tentative acceptance. Many thanks go to the reviewers who offered so many helpful comments.
[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]